The Value of the Mass

The Value of the Mass
Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church - Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Some Confusion

There seems to be some confusion regarding article 6 of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum and I would like to clear it up here.

Before I explain, I would like to inform anybody who reads this that this is not just my opinion but also the opinion of a canon lawyer.

Here is the article in question:

Art. 6
In Masses celebrated with the people according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, the
Readings can be proclaimed even in the vernacular, using editions that have received the recognitio of
the Apostolic See.

Now, some are stating that this article gives permission to alter the missal of John XXIII to replace the latin readings with that of the vernacular. This is not so. Why? Because the article says "in Masses celebrated... according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII." In the Missal of Bl. John XXIII the only vernacular allowed were the readings being repeated in the vernacular, not innitially proclaimed in such. If the readings were to be replaced with the vernacular, it would not be according to the missal of Bl. John XXIII.

Here's a simple syllogism to illustrate it.

The Missal of John XXIII allowed for vernacular readings only as repeats of the already proclaimed latin.

Pope Benedict stated that vernacular readings can be used according to the Missal of John XXIII

Therefore, the vernacular readings that Pope Benedict is making a statement about are those that are repeats of the already proclaimed latin.

Simple, p->q, q->r = p->r . It's simple logic.

That being said, the point is almost entirely moot in the fact that article 6 says that they CAN be used, not that they must. This further proves my point, however, because this was exactly the option in the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the vernacular COULD be used in repeating the readings, but it was not necessary.

To further prove my point, it should be noted that the rest of Summorum Pontificum points out to the fact that the Missal of Bl. John XXIII is not to have elements of the Missal of Paul VI mixed in. (See Art. 2) This is given exception, however, with intoductions of new saints into the older calender, but it should be noted that the pope DOES NOT DO THAT WITH THIS DOCUMENT!!! He says that this task will only be undertaken after consulting not only
Ecclesia Dei, but also "various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior," in other words, the heads of orders that exclusively use the traditional rite (FSSP, ICRSS, etc.)

I hope that clears up any confusion that some may put out there is a simply and logical way.

[Edit: I should also mention that this is only an opinion of mine and many others and that I feel that this matter needs to be clarified by the Eccelisia Dei commission.]



Anonymous said...


An interesting interpretation of Art. 6. I don't find that it is that narrow, however, nor do I see it being broad enough to the new Lectionary to be used.

I also refer you to decision of the PC Ecclesia Dei which has already allowed many of the things that the Pope has spoken of.

thetimman said...

zach, check out recent post by fr. z on this question.

Mark said...

Just what I was going to say. The guidelines from Ecclesia Dei say "the new lectionary in the vernacular could be used as a way of "providing a richer fare for the faithful at the table of God’s Word" in Masses celebrated according to the 1962 missal"...

Zach said...

Are you talking about the encyclical Ecclesia Dei or the Pontifical Commission? I did hear that when the "indult" was first given, the new lectionaries were an option but they didn't work so the idea was scrapped.

Also, I don't seem to be the only one with this opinion as it was also mentioned on EWTN last night.

Jeff said...

This Motu Proprio supersedes the previous ones of JPII. Therefore, interpretations or permissions given in conjunction with previous legislation is also superseded.

Zach said...


If you're implying that this motu is setting a new standard in this instance, I would still say no it's not simply because the pope speciffically says in this very document that this should be "according to the Missal of John XXIII."

Christophorus said...

I agree that Art .6 does not allow for the 1970 Lectionary. 1) the word is ‘Lectiones' (readings) not 'Lectionarium’ (lectionary). 2) It would be almost impossible to "shoe-horn" the 70 Lectionary into the 62 Missale (what do we do on Septuagesima?). 3) Rome has never liked "mixing rites”.

However, I also don't think that it means that the vernacular is used in addition to the latin. This has been done for centuries, and it need not be even mentioned.

In the 1965 revision of the Missale Romanum, the readings were in the vernacular rather than latin. This, and the elimination of the ‘Judica me..’ and the Last Gospel were the only changes.

This last is what the Moto Propio has in mind, to me.